Day 2 in the Valley

Author: Janaeé Wallace

Today we ESTEEMers did what we do best… PITCH & NETWORK!

Pitches for breakfast…

Today Nikita Amelchnko, Janaee Wallace, Abbey Santanello, Chardee Allee, Matt Caponigro, Yerlan Turekeshov, Edward Gordan, and Flora Zeiger all pitched their business plans to two Silicon Valley investors, Matthew Kinsella and Richard Pivnicka. This was a wonderful opportunity for our students to get critical feedback on their ventures to improve their business plans.

The official winners of the pitch competition were:

            Best pitch: Matt Caponigro – Healthy Points


            Best business plan: Abbey Santanello – the Vampiro


Networking for lunch…

The group broke into two groups after lunch to meet with representatives from either Glynn Capital and the AT&T Foundry or SRI International and the Lighting Motorcycle.

At Glynn Capital we met with John Fogelsong and John Glynn (the founder of Glynn Capital) to discuss venture capitalism, the current investing climate, and what investors look for in entrepreneurs. John Glynn founded Glynn Capital in the early 70s with the intention of starting a firm that would support entrepreneurs in both private and public sectors for multiple decades. John Glynn, as an original investor of Intel, has grown Glynn Capital’s investment portfolio to over $1 billion in assets. Glynn Capital has done this by investing in companies that have disruptive, emerging technologies and create new growth markets. Glynn Capital also evaluates the entrepreneur as much as they evaluate the company. John Glynn said that when they are looking to invest they try to ensure that the entrepreneur also has the qualitative assets to be a success. John Glynn said the four most important things were for the entrepreneur to be passionate, to have integrity, to be intellectually honest, and to be self-confident no matter what.

At the AT&T Foundry we met with three amazing engineers Alisha, Mario, and Vikram who were all working on projects to help improve AT&T’s network capabilities, data processing abilities, and network usage. The group’s favorite project was the innovative work Alisha Seam was doing with drones. Yes drones. She was working on a way to optimize drone delivery systems and surveillance capabilities through taking advantage of AT&T’s LTE network. Her major application is to use the drones over high-risk areas and fires where fireman would typically have difficulty accessing. This would allow them to assess hazards and best address issues safely. This system would also be used for drone delivery systems such as are seen with plans by Google and Amazon.


SRI International is considered one of the leading technology development companies. SRI International works on a number of industries but some of the favorites of the ESTEEM class were major developments in biomedical sciences and health. From the invention of Siri and beyond, exciting and innovative things are expected to come out of SRI International. One highlighted project includes their version of the fountain of youth where the team is working on actively replacing STEM cells within the human body so that the average person could live to be over 150. Another innovation is an automatic diagnostic device that will work to reduce redundancies in the emergency room and assess common illnesses with the prick of your finger at a local CVS or Walgreens. Finally, for the nerds in all of us, SRI has developed a suit for superhuman strength that can also help individuals with disabilities.

The Lighting Motorcycle is a high-end, high-speed motorcycle that outcompetes petroleum motorcycles in every realm. These customizable bikes are built from the ground up and offer a unique user experience. The lightweight allows for the bikes to turn on a dime and the innovative technology allows the bikes to accelerate at a faster rate than the best competing petroleum model. But more than anything else, these bikes are incredible.


Pitches and Networking for dinner


The night capped out with a networking event at the GSV labs hosted by the Notre Dame California initiative. At this event Notre Dame alumnus from the Valley, and those who hoped to one day call themselves a resident of the Valley exchanged laughs, casual conversation, and business cards. The highlight of this event was where three ESTEEM students (Mark Roche, Abbey Santanello, and Paul Mahoney) pitched their theses in 3 minutes. This gave the present Notre Dame alumnus a taste of what ESTEEM was made of. Another great highlight was a call for assistance and resources for the ESTEEM Legacy bike ride, Road to Discovery powered by ESTEEM, we hope to raise as much money as we can for Neimann-Pick and the Parseghian Medical Research Foundation.

Actual dinner was an ESTEEM Silicon Valley trip tradition where we all broke bread, or french fries, at the local favorite In and Out. What adventures could be around the corner tomorrow?